I’m no handyman that’s for sure. But after botching up a number of jobs around the house I have come to understand you really need the right tools to do certain jobs right.

Sometimes you can get away without the right tools, but what seems to happen to me is that it either takes forever to do the job, it doesn’t come out right, or what I fixed soon breaks again.

There are lots of articles out there about how leaders can have difficult conversations with employees, but in my opinion being able to effectively have a difficult conversation with an employee is partly about having the right tools in your kit bag.

How many times have you heard about a staff member repeatedly underperforming because no one had been able to have a proper conversation with him or her and put in place a plan to get things sorted out?  It’s as if the underperformer had been too hard to deal with.

Just like a leaky tap.

With your leaky tap you know that dripping sound is annoying and that you are wasting money on your waterbill, but you sort of put up with it. Mainly because you don’t have the right monkey wrench to get that thingy ma- jig off. Without scratching the porcelain before you pop a new washer in that you hope will fix the problem without breaking the shower. It’s just all too hard.

Having a difficult conversation with an employee is often all too hard for leaders.

Besides a number of leaders not having the right tools, the majority of us folks are hard wired a bit like computer operating systems. For the most part we tend to shy away from potential conflict situations or events that creates anxiety.

Doctor Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, a psychiatrist, came up with a model that depicted five stages we all go through in a grief process. The stages start with Shock and Denial and conclude with Acceptance.

To a great extent Leaders who are required to have difficult conversations can go through an emotional rollercoaster with the staff member that includes a number of these stages.

The tools a leader needs is to make that emotional roller coaster easier and to get both them and the employee to a stage of Acceptance.